Memphis AD: ‘We deserve to be’ in the SEC

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Before we begin, here’s a brief primer on the Memphis football program over the past three decades:

  • Since 1980, the Tigers have played in five bowl games, winning two
  • Since 1980, and including this season, the Tigers have compiled an overall record of 131-222-6
  • Since 1980, the Tigers have finished the season above .500 eight times
  • Since 1980, the Tigers have finished the season with one or two wins a combined 10 times
  • Since joining Conference USA in 1996, the Tigers have never won a division or overall championship
  • Since Conference USA went to two six-team divisions in 2005, the Tigers have finished in last place four of those six seasons
  • All told, the Tigers have finished fourth or worse 10 times in the 15 seasons since they joined their current conference

With that as a backdrop, full-time Memphis athletic director and part-time mushroom connoisseur R.C. Johnson was interviewed by a local television station regarding the latest round of conference expansion that’s currently unfolding and threatening to change the shape of the collegiate landscape.  While Johnson’s school, which currently resides in Conference USA, has been mentioned in connection to potential expansion in the Big East, the athletic director’s sights are set on a much, much, much bigger conference target.

“We want to try to get ourselves in the best possible place,” Johnson told WMC-TV in Memphis. “Ultimately we would like to be in the SEC. That’s where we think we belong geographically. We think we deserve to be.”

When reached for comment regarding Johnson’s hopes for his school’s conference future, SEC commissioner Mike Slive had the following to say: